Biodiesel in Marine Engines - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-06-2007
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Biodiesel in Marine Engines

I am curious if anyone is using biodiesel in their marine diesel engine? I have been looking at the possibility of making my own biodiesel from used fryer oil from restaurants for possible marine, tractor, and auto applications.

Does anyone have any experience using biodiesel? Are there any show stoppers in using this in a marine application?

Any jewels of wisdom will be greatly appreciated.
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There was some information in practical sailor regarding this in last months issue. The problem is that biodiesel breaks down quickly and as marine diesel can sit in the tank for a while it can degrade and clog filters. You need to keep it fresh which may be problematic for sailors that don't motor much.
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Old 06-06-2007
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From the Yanmar Website:

Is it possible to run Yanmar engines with Bio-diesel (RME)?
No, we strongly disapprove and it can also be of influence on your warranty.
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Old 06-06-2007
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I use Bio-diesel in my 4x4 for many months now, without any problems (I drive a Toyota turbo-diesel).

It is produced in a pilot plant locally and made from discarded fast-food cooking oil.

I then had converted a further three vehicles on a project I run, including a new Nissan 4x4. Nissan was contacted prior to it and said no problem as long as they installed the extra filter themselves, which they did and no impact on warranty.

I am a convert (although my car smells like a KFC when I start it).


Its just a matter of time before it becomes mainstream

Having said that, as said above, I'm not sure how stable the fuel is. I can go a whole sailing season with still a good portion of diesel in the tank . I'm not sure the bio-diesel would remain stable that long (let alone weather the winter storage)
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I have a friend here in New Jersey who has been using bio diesel for the past 4 years in his sailboat. He loves it, says his motor runs better then it ever did. It is also true what Waymar says...... I was dying to make a trip to Micky D's 10 minutes into him running his engine.
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My mechanic has suggested that I run that for a month to clean out my problem with "diesel bug". He has warned me that it will also attack my rubber fuel lines.

As to Yanmar's warning . . . my mechanic has also said that he has witnessed a 1GM running on corn oil.
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Just think, if we could switch to corn oil for bio-diesel, we could put all of our farmers back to work. No wait, they've all went bankrupt and it's too late.
Sigh....
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One advantage of bio-diesel is that it seems to have higher lubricity, which is something that the new low-sulphur diesel blends are lacking, since sulphur acts as a lubricant in diesel fuels.

One possible remedy is to use some blend of diesel and bio-diesel, rather than straight bio-diesel.
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Old 06-07-2007
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I found a few links of note wrt biodiesel and marine applications. Here is one stating the advantages. The primary disadvantage is that biodiesel tends to get viscous at lower temperatures if not sufficiently filtered both prior to and after the transesterification process used to convert cooking oil into biodiesel. Workarounds include mixing biodiesel with regular diesel when the climate cools.

Pacific Biofuel: Industries: Marine

Quote:
Industries: Marine

Biodiesel is non-toxic, readily biodegradable and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Here are only some of many benefits of biodiesel for marine useó

* Non-toxic
* Biodegradable
* Cleaner Exhaust Above and Below Deck
* Higher, Safer Flashpoint vs. Diesel
* Superior Lubricity Improves Engine Life

Biodiesel reduces harm to fish and humans:
biodiesel is considered non-toxic, as printed in NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Guidelines in its Registry of the Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.

Vessel operators and engine workers report a noticeable change in exhaust odor. biodiesel users also report having no eye irritation compared with petroleum diesel fumes.

Biodiesel is biodegradable:
Biodiesel is 10 times less toxic than table salt and more biodegradable than sugar. According to a 1995 University of Idaho test, biodiesel (even biodiesel blends) accelerate the biodegradability of petroleum No. 2 diesel. For example a 20% biodiesel blend degrades twice as fast as No. 2 diesel.

Biodiesel can work in several marine factions:
Because Biodiesel can replace or blend with petroleum diesel with little or no engine modifications, it is a viable alternative to several categories of the marine industry, including: recreational boats, inland commercial and ocean-going commercial ships, research vessels, and the U.S. Coast Guard Fleet. Today, much of the emphasis is on recreational boats, which consume about 95 million gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Biodiesel is a safe alternative:
The flash point (the point at which fuel ignites) for biodiesel (B100) is a minimum of 300 degrees versus about 125 degrees Fahrenheit for regular petroleum diesel #2. These factors make biodiesel one of the safest fuels to use, handle and store. It is even less irritating to skin than a 4% soap and water solution.

Biodiesel has higher lubricity:
Biodiesel blended at a 20 percent rate with petroleum diesel has a lower wear scar than traditional fuel. At the 20 percent blend level, Biodiesel shows improved lubricity. Start-up, power, range and cold-weather performance characteristics are similar to diesel.

Biodiesel is "user-friendly":
The use of Biodiesel and Biodiesel blends results in a noticeable change in exhaust odor. The reduction in smell and change of odor are easier on ship workers and pleasure craft boaters. In fact, it's been compared to the smell of French fries. Users also report no having eye irritation. Since Biodiesel is oxygenated, diesel engines have more complete combustion than with petroleum.

Biodiesel is a renewable, domestic fuel:
Biodiesel is made from renewable fats and oils, such as vegetable oils, through a simple refining process. The by-product glycerin is used in commercial applications from toothpaste to cough syrup. The use of Biodiesel is also a great stimulus to local farming communities since Biodiesel is made from oil seeds such as soy and canola.

Smooth Sailing for Ferry Run on Soybeans:
What do representatives from air quality regulatory agencies; entrepreneurial business; a ferry operation; local, state and federal government; an environmental group; and the Cal mascot "Oski" all have in common? On the afternoon of November 13, they all got together to talk about the first time that a passenger vessel has been run on biodiesel made from soybeans. Calís "Oski" mascot added a note of whimsy to this otherwise technical briefing and, as you can see, was a great photo prop.

This project required the collaboration of three great partners. The Water Transit Authority sought and obtained a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportationís Maritime Administration (MARAD). Blue & Gold Ferry Service provided $57,000 in additional funding and dedicated its 400-passenger excursion ferry, the Oski, namesake of the Cal mascot, to run on biodiesel for five months.
Other links:

Marine biodiesel surveys and links:
Biodiesel document links

Making your own biodiesel from vegetable oil:
Make your own biodiesel: Journey to Forever
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Old 06-07-2007
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I run bio in a long haul truck where available.And at home in a farm tractor feed from a drop tank.

No problems in in truck.Drop tank developed a separation problem.Bio and regular diesel separated.Installed a electric fuel pump in drop tank.[150gal.].Set it up to pump out or just circulate.Run it on circulate for 5 minutes before filling 20 gal.tractor tank.No more problems.

Taking this to a marine tank application i would think it depends on how often you use your boat.If you use it weekly and slosh it around allot you should have no problems.Would not let it sit for a month and try it.

Plumbing a circulating electric pump in your marine tank is a good idea in eather case.Run through filters keep the bad stuff out.
Mark
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